Over the years I’ve provided photography coverage of various events for the local university, UC Riverside.
Usually it’s a ground-breaking, a ribbon-cutting or portraiture of someone in the community for which they’re doing a story or feature.
Every now and then, I get something unusual and fun.
Dragalicious Drag Ball Â March 31, 2011
Recently Andy Plumley, UC Riversideâ€™s director of housing services, dressed in drag to raise funds for students.
As with most indoor events, lighting is foremost on my mind.
It’s always available light versus setting up and lighting with my Â strobes.
I used my 80-200 f2.8 zoom for all these pictures.
My choice of cameras were the Canon 40D or the 5D Mark 2.
I chose the latter because it handles low light situations much better.
Also, since the light levels were very marginal, I decided having the 1.6x magnification of the 40D was going to cause more problems with motion blur.
Exposure was about between 1/90 and 1/125 sec @ f2.8 at ISO 1600.
Why I didn’t light it
I didn’t want anyone to hurt themselves tripping over my light stands.
I was not there during rehearsal so I had no idea where I should be placing the lights to give me the best coverage.
Ideally I would have 2 assistants, one to watch each light stand.
Maybe next year if I’m given enough notice, I’ll mount some of my lights somewhere safe.
On this particular occasion, there were 2 spot lights about 45 degrees to the left and right of a stage manned by 2 persons.
As expected, once the program started, the house lights were off.
That meant I would be dealing with extremely contrasty side-lighting.
Shoot from a position Â where I could use one of the spotlights as a backlight or a hair light.
The tricky part was keeping the spotlight from shining directly into my lens.
For the most part, that worked.
Once the performers left the stage to dance amongst the audience, the light became extremely unpredictable.
The standing crowd would intermittently block the light from the spotlights and the performers would be in shadow or be only partially lit.
I would have loved to be able to show more of the audience reaction but when they aren’t lit, all I can do is to try and throw a flash into the mix.
Since it was packed near the aisles and stage, that wasn’t going to happen.
Next time, I will surely plan on using some superclamps to put some flash units up.
It may seem like a lot of trouble, but once they’re in place, they will give me more options.
By the way, the event raised $10,000 for student scholarships.